Monday, 29 August 2016

Tablets with Braille

I am busy reading up on web accessibility. There is a fortune to read and to learn. One of the first details that web developers need to keep in mind is that of images or photographs. There are readers who are unable to see or view images for various reasons. One group of these readers is, of course the blind or visually impaired. The web accessibility guidelines lists three ways to use text equivalent for image, one of these is braille.

I am familiar with braille and have prepared several blind patients to improve their sensation of their finger tips in preparation for learning braille. However, I know braille as being on paper. I decided to do a search to find out how braille can be used on an LCD or flat screen. I was delighted to discover that a company in Austria has designed a method for the blind and visually impaired to be able to access tablets and flat screens using braille. This special tablet is called a BLITAB and will be the first tactile tablet for blind people. It is still in the manufacture phase and due to be launched at the end of 2016. 

Take a look at the video below, which explains about this wonderful new device and how it will be enabling the blind population to gain access to technology.

Look at the smile on the face of the blind person who is being introduced to the new BLITAB. What a gift to this section of the population, this BLITAB will be. It is wonderful to see how advances in technology can open doors for the disabled too.

Do you know anyone who is blind or visually impaired? Let them know that a new tablet is soon to come onto the market that will enable them to gain greater access to the world of technology.

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Certified Kallah Teacher
Artist and Author

Friday, 26 August 2016

Interview with Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz

In this interview we hear some inspiring words from Sandra Beckwith of 

I have enjoyed receiving Sandra's newsletter for quite some time now and it is an honour to be able to feature her here on this blog. For anyone who does not yet know Sandra, she manages an inspiring website filled with tips, ideas, a blog and more to help authors to learn how to market, promote and publicize their books.

 Without further delay, here is the interview:

1) Hi Sandra, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed in a Q & A for my blog HealingOccupationalTherapy. Reading your "about" page is very inspiring. You have several books successfully published. There are some who write books or are self-employed who use their success to build on more success for themselves. I love the fact that you are willing to share your knowledge and help others to succeed too. Can you share with the reader what inspired you to want to help others to be successful?

This probably isn't the answer you expected but the truth is, it's just who I am -- to a fault. It's one reason I became a writer in the first place. Many of my assignments allow me to showcase how others do something better, smarter, or faster. That, in turn, lets me help people learn from the experiences of others who have gone before them. 

2) One of the first things that attracted me to sign up to your newsletter is the name of your website. The more I learn about online marketing the more I appreciate the importance of the name of one's website. I love the name you have chosen. "Build Book Buzz" it has a melody and zing to it. Can you share with those who might be starting out, what should they consider in selecting a suitable title either for a book or website?

Great question! You should think as much about your website name as you do your book title (and if you didn't think too much about that, you might want to go back and revisit it!). You want it to tell people what they'll find on your site. Authors using the site only for their books, rather than another part of their business, might want to use their name. Others, though, might want the site name to reflect their area of expertise -- like or

Some people get hung up on being cute. That can work . . . but it can also work against you. If nobody is ever going to do a Google search for that clever turn of phrase, it's not going to help you.

Which leads to a key point: Your site name should be part of your site SEO strategy. In other words, it should be something that will come up in a Google search for your topic, subject, expertise, etc.

3) Being self employed I very much appreciate how much time has to be devoted to mastering marketing. This really is the key. For someone who is not trained in PR or marketing, it can be quite daunting to consider how much one has to devote to marketing. I love the description that you use to help others to "get over, under or around the book marketing and sales road blocks and obstacles" For those who are worried about starting to write or to become self-employed because of these obstacles, what would you say are the chances of being successful if they follow the tips and advice that you offer?

My tips are geared to authors, but some of the advice applies to solopreneurs and others who are self-employed, too. I generally recommend that you determine one tactic that will help you reach your target audience, then master it. If you do it the wrong way, it won't help, so it's important to learn how to do it properly. When you've mastered it and feel like you've got it under control, identify another tactic and learn how to do that well. 

Also take into account your natural skills and abilities, and select your primary tactic according to that, too. For example, an introvert might not want to do public speaking, even if that's a good fit -- guest blogging might work better for that person.

4) Thanks Sandra. I love the fact that you recognize that each person is suited to something specific according to their unique personality and skills. It is so important to hear and I hope will help our readers to have the strength to follow what is right for them.
In today's time one often hears comments such as "no-one has money" or "everyone is struggling". I very much appreciated reading that you put yourself through college and have been "self-employed so long that you are no longer employable". For me that is very inspiring. Some of my work is aimed at empowering orphans who come from difficult financial backgrounds with little to no support or who have health problems and need to consider working from home. What words of encouragement can you offer to someone from a difficult background to rise above this and become successful?

Believe in yourself. It's amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it -- and we have no choice. (Fear is a great motivator . . . .) I also think it helps to find someone successful who overcame some of the same obstacles you're facing. Learn more about how they did that, and use them as role models. They will inspire you to keep going when you have down days. 

5) Over a period of time, I signed up for quite a few newsletters. Gradually I have sifted through which one's I will read and follow more regularly or in-depth. One fact that has definitely kept me reading your newsletters is the fact that I really like the way they are personable, respectful, polite and with a use of language that is easy to read. In a generation where use of social networking has often come down to a one line use of abbreviations and poor language, what can you share about email etiquette. 

When it comes to email newsletters, never add anyone to your list without their permission.

In general, keep your audience in mind. I receive emails from public relations people trying to get me to interview their clients and every once in a while one signs her message, "Love."  Love? LOVE? It's inappropriate, but really, it's kind of funny, too. 

Also, don't presume that the recipient knows who you are. I get emails from strangers who sign off with just their first name. Add a signature, and make sure it includes some kind of call to action -- a link to your newsletter sign up page, a link to your book online -- even just a link to your website for more information. 

6) Lastly, with all you are doing for others, do you have another book in the writing yourself?

I have an idea for a series of how-to book marketing e-books. So far, though, it's just an idea. Thank you for asking!

Thank you Sandra for your valuable and inspiring answers. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and I have learned a lot from signing up to your newsletter. For any readers who might be reading this Q & A post with Sandra Beckwith, if you would like to write a book or to learn how to market your books or eBooks, I highly recommend signing up for her newsletter which you can do via the front page of her website. 
Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Kallah Teacher
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Artist and Author 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Awaiting the Proof Copy

Writing a book is a long but exciting process. It is really quite amazing how much time, effort and dedication is required in order to produce a polished final product. After weeks of reading, re-reading, editing and even some re-writing, my latest book is ready for the next proof copy. I have just received notification that the proof copy has been shipped. That is really impressive given that it had to be printed first and I only ordered the proof about 6 hours before hearing it has been shipped. Publishing of today has advanced in so many ways.

In addition to editing my book, I am in the process of obtaining letters of approbation. I have received a very positive comment from a Beta Reader and my first letter of approbation arrived yesterday. It is such a wonderful feeling to receive recognition to hard work. A copy of the book was mailed this morning to a doctor in the USA. Very exciting developments! However, with all the excitement there is need for a healthy dose of patience.

So now begins the wait for the second proof copy to arrive. No time to sit back though, there is plenty to do in the meantime. One of my challenges is tracking down the author or the story behind the poem: "I saw a child" by John Anthony Davies. I have seen it come up on a number of blogs and have emailed RDA but thus far I am still waiting for comments, answers and who this interesting author is / was. Do you know about Riding for the Disabled? Have you heard of or read the poem? Do you know anything about it, when it was written, if the author is still alive? If you do, please be in touch. 

Thank you so much for your help

I look forward to letting you know the next development in the process to bringing my book into print and making it available to others to read and enjoy.  

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Kallah Teacher
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Artist, Photographer and Author

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Some of the Business Side of Self-Publishing

Over the past few days (and for a few more days to come), the fun side of bringing my next book to print has been put on hold and it is down to some serious business. The topic at hand is copyright. Quite a major topic and I have 6 articles and a chapter of a book to read through followed by a podcast to listen to. Doing this properly certainly does mean there is much work to be done. The best part of reading this material thus far is a healthy reminder as to why I did not become a lawyer. I admire anyone who completely understands all the material, jargon etc and the one who enjoys it and prepared such documents, well you get even more admiration. As for me, I prefer being creative and being an OT.

Reality is though, that since the first children came into being, that would be Cain and Abel, jealousy has been a part of human life. So, despite not enjoying this aspect of book writing, I'm doing the responsible thing and wading through the info. 

Always something to learn and some business to take care of. I am so looking forward to getting back to the book itself.

If you don't see any posts for a few days, you now know what is occupying my time. I do very much hope that reading the info is all that will be required.

I hope your day is spent with nicer tasks than reading legal texts.

Have a blessed day

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Certified Kallah Teacher
Author, Artist and Photographer

Monday, 1 August 2016

Enjoying the Journey!

I am having so much fun through the process of bringing this book to print. While reading an article related to one section of the book I found a colleague who is aware of a different area that I am currently researching. I have struggled for a while to find good references to read. Thanks to this new contact I now have 5 articles on my things to do list, a great start towards gaining the information that I required.

In researching to clarify some facts for another section, I came to meet a very interesting person. I have just completed a rich and fascinating Skype conversation. 

It's amazing what doors begin to open when you embark on the path to not just write a book but to make sure that it comes to print. Of course, my book is now becoming a little bigger than it had been, but I hope that will be appreciated in the long run.

With that little intermission, it's back to the final edit of my proof copy. I am so looking forward to the next phase of this process, but enjoying this phase too. What an adventure.

Have a blessed day

Shoshanah Shear
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